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Britain took control of the cape during the era of mercantilism in Europe. At the end of 18th century the British became interested in seizing the cape colony from the Dutch. During 1793 France invaded the Netherlands. King William V. sought refuge in Britain and also asked for protection for Dutch colonies and trading interests.

During this time, the British already controlled India and the trade between India and Europe. In 1795 the British occupied the cape twice for a short period of time. From 1806 onwards especially when the Napoleonic wars ended in 1815 the Britain made a formal purchase of the Cape from the Netherlands for six million pounds sterling. Therefore British started to settle at the Cape in 1806. The motives for the British interests at the Cape are;-

1. To increase colonies: The British wanted to increase and expand her spheres of influence following this she decided to occupy the Cape.

2. Industrial revolution in Europe, following this British wanted to increase sources of raw materials, labour, and markets for her industries since the Cape were very productive.

3. Trade interests, Britain did not want another European power to control the Cape because that would interfere the smooth flow of trade between Britain and India.

4. The South African Cape was strategically located. It was an appropriate place for British ships to stop during their voyages to or from India. They could get fresh supplies adwater for the reminder of their journey.

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